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Special Achievements

Dedicated to our students and faculty who have interesting and special achievements in the Arts, Science, Engineering, Athletics, Education, Law, Humanities, Medicine, or Business.

David Curl
University School Class of 1950
AAUS Great Artist - 2004

Click Here For The Kurl Gallery Collection

David Curl

After leaving University School, Dave Curl focused his life on photography -- and has never looked back. He has earned his living in the field of photography, imaging and teaching for more than half a century. Even at 70, Curl remains active -- traveling all over the world, with wife Ardyce, in pursuit of unique and beautiful images.

Curl began his life as a photojournalist -- working summers and weekends for the Columbus Dispatch while still at University School. Later, Curl worked as a staff photographer for the Milwaukee Journal.

He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Ohio University, after which he went on active duty with the U.S. Air Force in the field of photo- intelligence. In all, Curl served in the Air Force Reserve for a total of 38 years.  Along the way, Curl honed his industrial imaging skills with Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati where he worked as a corporate industrial photographer.

Curl continued his education at Indiana University -- where he earned a doctorate in instructional communications. Degree in hand, Curl began a two-year tour of duty in Nigeria with the U. S. Agency for International Development. But the core of Curl's 30 year career in teaching was spent at The University of Connecticut, The University of Chicago, Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College. Beginning in 1993, Dave began a retirement career as a seasonal interpretive ranger for the National Park Service at seven different parks, mostly in Alaska. He especially enjoys living history reenactments in which he can portray a historical character.

In keeping with academia’s compulsion to “publish or perish,” Dave decided to publish. He burned plenty of midnight oil over some fifteen years to prepare audio-visual columns for trade magazines. Curl also produced more than 300 journal articles, scripts, and audio-visual productions. He collaborated on four technical and art books, and wrote two of his own—the most successful being photo/IMAGING, a widely-adopted college-level textbook first published in 1978 and currently in its fourth edition.

In collaboration with his wife, Ardyce, who is a journalist and author, Dave also has compiled, edited, designed and published several books and other publications through their small press, Oak Woods Media.

One benefit of college teaching is a flexible schedule that provided Curl opportunities for consulting and operating a small commercial studio. His work as an industrial illustrator included well known clients including The Upjohn Company and Eaton Truck Components.

Dave says, “Although I still get a thrill watching an image appear magically in the developing tray, I haven’t exposed any film for nearly three years.” He has sold all his large- and medium-format photo equipment, and now uses a Fuji S-1 Pro digital camera for everything, including thousands of images produced for the National Park Service. Downloading high-resolution TIFF images into his Macintosh G-4 computer permits him to quickly achieve effects with Adobe Photoshop software that would require painstaking hours in the darkroom, or that would be impossible using traditional photo processes.

Summing up, Dave says, “Photography has been good to me. Teachers usually don’t receive enough feedback on their efforts, but I’ve enjoyed seeing several former students excel in their own imaging careers. Besides, I have time now to create images for myself, instead of only for clients.” His own work has been widely published, and displayed in 10 one-person shows and more than 50 other exhibitions.  He has received numerous achievement awards and the degree of Photographic Craftsman from the Professional Photographers of America.

The Alumni Association of University School is proud to honor Dave Curl as one of our most distinguished artists.  Click here for a link to the Kurl Gallery.

The Photographer as Artist

Among the many visual arts, none is more challenging than photography -- for mastering the art of photo-imaging is as much about perception and style as it is about equipment and technology. Each photographic genre demands its own skill set and stylistic qualities. So too does each genre offer the imager broad challenge and a wide latitude for self expression. Some of the best practitioners in the photographic arts focus principally on one or two genres while others, including Dave Curl, are masters of many.

Thus we have come to think about Margaret Bourke-White's stark images of depression era America and the ravages and brutality of nations at war. Other great image makers, including legendary photographers such as famed conservationist photographer Ansel Adams, focused their attention on graphic artistic illustration that incrementally revealed, to a home bound generation, indelible and revealing images of a mostly unknown American west.

What every great photographer brings to his or her work is a clear sense of genre, a well developed personal sense of style, and a unique artistic view. While photography is predicated largely on capturing images of the real world, the really great image makers amongst us are also teachers who use the imaging arts to reveal the world as they see it -- sometimes stark, often beautiful, but always interesting.

From his earliest days at University School, David Curl was the master of his camera and an undiscovered impresario of images of American Life.  By the time he graduated from University School in 1950, Curl had mastered the skills and equipment of his future profession. So too was Dave Curl well on his way to developing his unique style and artistic view of the world he found in his viewfinder.

The quality of Curl's University School era images stand today as convincing evidence of his technical prowess and emerging artistic gifts.

After graduating from University School in 1950, Dave Curl went on to pursue a life of images and beauty as photographer, artist, teacher and author.  No matter which role was required of him, Curl preserved the America he experienced through beautiful and dramatic images. In the doing, Curl earned worldwide recognition for his artistry, images and teaching.

AAUS is proud to honor David Curl for revealing the world around us in his beautiful and enduring images -- and for sharing his skills and gifts with so many students and fans

Len Shartle
University School Class of 1962
AAUS Great Sculptor

Len Shartle

Len Shartle is a talented sculptor from Rhode Island. He received his art training under the great master Jose DeCreeft at the Arts Students League in New York, after graduating from Defiance College in Ohio.  Upon completing a tour of duty in the military, he settled in the lovely seaside town of historic Bristol, RI.  There he has worked for over ten years and exhibited his work in Providence at the Bert Gallery.  He has been in selected group shows at the Newport Art Museum, Bristol Art Museum, and the Toledo Museum.  Len passed away in October 2012.

The town of Bristol commissioned Len to sculpt a major monument celebrating the quincentennial of Columbus and the discovery of America called Discovery.  The bronze sculpture stands in the town's Independence Park.

Over the past years, he has developed a cast stone line of wall mounted sculpture reliefs.  They are sealed against water and the surface is covered with a copper-based substance that when treated, gives the figure the patina of weathered bronze.  These solid wall mounted sculptured reliefs will withstand water and wind when they are hung in outdoor gardens, on fences as well as when hung on indoor alcoves.

AAUS is proud to honor Len Shartle for revealing the world around us in his beautiful and enduring sculptures. We have included some of his works of art below.

Wallace De Pue
Class of 1951

The Walace De Pue Story. "His life, his career and The De Pue Family Musicians"

Here are the real stories of a landmark University School family coming to terms with reality and unbridled musical talent. Follow the saga and tribulations of a former classmate coming face to face with life -- raising four sons, hard times, enduring love, terrible tragedy and triumph. You can view the entire collection of stories by Clicking Here.

Wallace De Pue

Remembrance & Discovery

By Bonnie Kay Class of 1959

I don’t know if it was that way for you, but when I was in 7th grade, my fellow classmates and I knew everyone in grades 8 through 12 by name, especially the juniors and seniors.  Don Patterson was a junior when I was a 7th grader. I remember him mostly from the football team.

I carry around vivid pictures from past times at U-Hi and Don Patterson is in one of them----playing the grand piano in Room 100 before the “chorus” class began.  There was a group of boys standing behind him as he was playing music that I hadn’t heard much of before.  I had studied violin and piano from early elementary school and there was a lot of record playing and radio-listening in my house, pretty exclusively classical music…. well until rock n’ roll hit around 1955.  But Don was playing something different.  I remember this scene particularly with some envy since to sit down at the piano and play, with no music, was something I couldn’t do.  Martha Dale, Miss Tolbert’s right-hand accompanist, did it too.  I envied both of them.

So it was a good 15 years later, after college, 2 years in West Africa in the Peace Corps and working in Chicago (all of which enlarged my musical tastes considerably) that I was in Rose’s Record Store on Wabash Ave., thumbing through the jazz piano/organ LPs  (Jimmy Smith was very popular) that I came across a cover with ‘Don Patterson’ written across the top.  Could it be the same guy?  The album didn’t have a photograph of the artist but I bought it anyway and the moment passed.

The subject didn’t come up again for another 30 years. Now working in Ann Arbor, and tuned into a local jazz and blues NPR radio station, I heard Don’s name mentioned once again, this time with background from the DJ on Patterson and other big name jazz organists, like Joey Defrancesco, Bill Heid, Gene Ludwig, and Jimmy Smith. The DJ also mentioned something about Columbus, Ohio and my attention REALLY focused on the radio.  Defrancesco was coming to town to play and had made an album in tribute to Don.  Wow! The big names.  I was convinced now that it was the same Don Patterson I had heard in Room 100.

By this time the Internet made everything accessible.  I typed in ‘Don Patterson, jazz organist’ and sure enough, a notable list of his recordings, chiefly in the ‘60s, came on the screen.  I read he’d recorded with jazz greats like Sonny Stitt, Pat Martino, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Booker Ervin, Gene Ammons, and David ‘Fathead’ Newman.  Defrancesco produced an album “Tribute to Don Patterson: Philadelphia Connection”. Album reviews described Don’s playing as “a thinking person’s jazz organist known for his swing and precision”; “Don Patterson made as impressive a series of recordings during the 1960s as any jazz organist” (Don Patterson: Dem New York Dues, Prestige PRCD 24149-2).  A very creative person in turbulent times, drugs shortened his career and life. Although Don’s life was less orthodox than many, he was, nevertheless, a productive, creative person deserving recognition as part of the AAUS Great Artist series.

Donald Patterson

Jazz Musician

Donald Patterson
Richard Pfeiffer, Jr.

Richard C. Pfeiffer, Jr.

University Class of 1962

AAUS Lawyer and Judge

Richard C. Pfeiffer, Jr. was appointed Columbus City Attorney by Columbus City Council in January 2003. Subsequently, in November 2003 he was elected to finish the unexpired term. Subsequently he has been twice re-elected, with his present term ending December 31, 2013.

Born on April 12, 1944 at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, Pfeiffer was raised in Columbus, Ohio where he attended Columbus Public Schools through the ninth grade, before attending and graduating in 1962 from the University High School, a school which was associated with the Ohio State University.

Between his 1966 graduation from Oberlin College with a degree in Government, and his 1972 graduation from the Ohio State University College of Law (cum laude, Articles Editor of the Law Journal and Senior Advisor on the Moot Court Governing Board), Pfeiffer enlisted in the United States Army. He did his basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, and both his advanced individual training and his six-month Officer Candidate School at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery, Pfeiffer was assigned to Ft. Bliss, Texas, from which he volunteered for service in Vietnam. Immediately upon leaving Vietnam in 1969 as a First Lieutenant, Pfeiffer returned to law school at Ohio State where in 1966 he completed one quarter before leaving for military service. While serving in the United States Army Pfeiffer was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and two Bronze Stars.

Pfeiffer began his career as an attorney with the law firm of Paul F. Beery Co. LPA, a practice specializing in motor carrier law. In 1973, Pfeiffer was appointed Majority Counsel in the Ohio House of Representatives, where he worked until March 1980 before resigning as Executive Assistant and Counsel to Speaker Vern Riffe, to run for Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney. Following his defeat in that election, he worked as a solo practitioner before becoming, in 1983, a partner in the law firm of Bricker and Eckler.

In 1982, Pfeiffer was elected to the Ohio Senate where he served for nine years until he was elected in 1991 as the first judge of the Environmental Division of the Franklin County Municipal Court, a position he held for eleven years before becoming Columbus City Attorney.

Pfeiffer lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, the former Janet Preskenis. They have three children: Sacha (1971), Sonya (1973) and Seth (1976). Pfeiffer serves on the Boards of the Ohio State Legal Services Association, the Brass Band of Columbus, the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation, the African American and African Studies Community Extension Center Advisory Board, and the former President of the Ohio Municipal Attorney's Association.

Dr. John Howard, Jr.

University Class of 1964

Author, Educator, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Athlete

University of Cincinnati Hall of Fame

Harlem Globetrotters

Dr. John Howard, Jr.

John Howard Jr., PhD, diversified his career early in life, multi-talented, academician and athlete, former alumnus, resides in Taylor, Michigan. Although in his early years, known as a superb athlete – the school’s greatest athlete went on to loftier goals – all of which he attained at the highest professional levels in every chosen field he competed -  both public and private educational institutions.

Academically, gifted, a late bloomer who caught on quickly the rules of the game of life – hard work, strong training regiment, and commitment to exercise both the mind and body. A Columbus native, born in the north-end, a camera’s shot from campus. OSU was his playground in the beginning of his young life, often sharing good moments with friends from the neighborhood: Mirror lake where he tossed Indian Head pennies into the fountain.

Always watchful, studios, and eager to learn, Dr. Howard attended the Columbus Public Schools in his earlier years: Second Ave and Everett Jr. High School before entering U-Hi in 1962 as a tenth grader. John learned quickly the routine of education, growing academically each year while simultaneously, displaying High School All-American in basketball credentials. He was University School’s greatest athlete - physically gifted, played multiple sports – two concurrently: baseball and track keep him in shape, physically.

At University School, John had an immediate impact in basketball, Franklin County Sophomore Class A Player of the Year, (1961-1962) and Ohio - Class A All-State Basketball (1963 and 1964) and High School Basketball All-American (1964). He performed admirably, played five positions in the North-South Ohio Basketball All Star Game on the winning and highest scoring all-star team in Ohio History and highest scoring game prior to the introduction of the three point-shot. 

Having athletic options between college basketball and minor league professional baseball, having pitched a no-hitter in the presence of professional baseball scouts, John selected academic life, matriculating to the University of Cincinnati. Still growing and absorbing knowledge that would guide his career after sports and continuing his success in basketball at the University of Cincinnati, Freshman MVP, Junior and Senior years team leading scorer during, The Missouri Valley Conference play, and second and third leading rebounder at 6’4, and MVP his final season, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.

Drafted by the NBA, ABA, and Harlem Globetrotters, He played basketball professionally for the Harlem Globetrotters in 1968 – 1969. John played “scoring guard’ with the famed magicians of basketball: National Unit - Meadowlark Lemon, Fred Curly Neal, Bob ‘Showboat’ Hall, Hubert ‘Geeseman’ Ausbie, etc. By midseason, John was the starting scoring guard on the International Unit, 1968-1969.

Over the summer of ‘69, John, having fulfilled his university’s academic requirements elected to forgo basketball and enter the education profession. Dr. Howard made his greatest achievements in his career field of education. Armed with a degree in education from the University of Cincinnati, he taught Social Studies for four years at Franklin Junior High School, attaining Department Head during his initial three years while receiving Outstanding Teacher of the Year in each of the four years he taught. 

John entered graduate school at The OSU and majored in English Education (MA) and Curriculum (PhD) while attending grad school and working as a Graduate Research Associate at the National Center for Research in Vocational and Technical Education. Upon leaving in two years, John had co-authored his first books - The Adoption of Systems Innovations in Complex Educational Organizations: a Case Study of Operation Guidance (Kester, Ralph and Howard, John), Change Agent Handbook (Hull, William, Kester, Ralph and Howard, John), and had published over 30 professional manuscripts, handbooks, research reports, and refereed journals in professional publications.

From OSU, he developed and published a host of curricula materials and products for the Michigan Department of Education where he served in the capacity of the User Services Manager of the Michigan Occupational Information System. Leaving the state department after four years, John served as a high school principal (9 years) Buena Vista, Michigan, Associate Superintendent of Schools, Jersey City, New Jersey, Superintendent of Schools in East Orange, New Jersey,

He adjunct at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, Fordham University New York city where he taught advanced courses in school administration – law, finance, principles and practices, collective bargaining, curriculum, the superintendent, the principal.

As an English Professor from St. Johns River State College in Palatka, Florida, he taught nine English courses during his tenure: English Composition I, Composition II, Literature 2000, Technical Writing, American Literature, Film as a Narrative, African American literature, Children’s Literature, and Creative Writing. Over thirty students have written professional manuscripts and books under his tutelage.

Retiring from academia, the ever inventive, Dr. Howard briefly returned to basketball. He created and founded Mixed Gender Basketball Association and Center Jump Professional Basketball, Inc., leagues that espoused men and women playing cooperatively as teammates on the same basketball team.

During the intervening years, whether it be teaching or running his own businesses, Dr. Howard’s greatest love was writing books, his magnum opus: The Mysterious Gems Novel Series: The Black Ruby and Blue Ice Topaz, and Children’s book of the Black Ruby, and Screenplay of the same name are completed. Film rights are being pursued.

Some of his other worthy publications include: The Golfer’s Playbook (Recordkeeping System), The Steel Box (Dramedy), and A Vision of Greatness (Screenplay).

Now Emeritus Professor of English, Dr. Howard holds two distinguished academic recognitions in writing; third author worldwide to write a book in “E-Prime (avoiding the use of ‘To Be Verbs’ – am, be, being, been, is, are, was, were and counting, and become) and first author worldwide to write a fiction book in “E-Prime (two novels and counting).

John seldom boasted about awards, received over 100 academic and athletic recognitions. While serving as Superintendent of Schools in East Orange New Jersey, Dr. Howard received international recognition as an innovator of instructional systems, presented in Argentina – with the former US Secretary of Education, theme-based curricula and alternate designs for schooling.


As a superintendent in NJ, Dr. Howard purchased a small college (40 acres + buildings) and converted the property into a campus high school complex, and received special recognition in education administration as the first African- American Superintendent of the Year in the State of New Jersey, along with being a recipient of the prestigious Walter Wriston Award for outstanding leadership in education. Also, Dr. Howard was a finalist for the National Superintendent of the Year while in New Jersey.


As a retiree, John continues to operate his publishing company, RW&D Publishing and finish writing his Mysterious Gems Books.


Dr. Howard is retired and living outside Detroit Michigan. You can reach him at:

Dr. Charles E. Taylor

University Class of 1962

Educator, Administrator and Leader

Dr. Charles E. Taylor

Dr. Taylor is a graduate of The Ohio State University; BA in Clinical Psychology 1967, MA in Educational Administration 1969, and PhD in Educational Administration 1971. He began his career at the grassroots level, working as a social worker at the South Side Settlement House and Director of Education for the Columbus Metropolitan Area Community Action Organization in Columbus, Ohio. His early service includes four years as Vice President for Operations of the Academy for Contemporary Problems (1972 - 1976).  The Academy was an independent, public foundation, operated by the major organizations of state and local government in the United States.  During his tenure at the Academy, he also served as Executive Director of the Columbus Area Leadership Program, an effort to provide information about central Ohio and improve the analytic and leadership skills of emerging community leaders.  He was Director of the Ohio Educational Seminar, a joint project of the Academy and the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C.  In collaboration with Battelle Memorial Institute's Frankfurt Laboratory, he served as consultant on problems of education and social service delivery for foreign workers in West Germany. Chuck was then selected as a “Washington Intern in Education”, a national program sponsored by the Ford Foundation and George Washington University to develop new leadership for educational institutions, agencies and organizations.

Dr. Taylor was recruited in 1976 to be President of Wilberforce University, located near Xenia, in southwestern Ohio (1976 - 1984). At the time of his appointment, he was the youngest chief executive to head the 128-year-old institution and one of the youngest college presidents in the nation.  He enjoyed considerable success in strengthening the board of trustees, increasing enrollment, developing a strong faculty, reducing debt, building the endowment and dramatically updating the facilities.

In March 1984, Chuck joined BP America, formerly the Standard Oil Company.  He initially served for three years as Director of Corporate Contributions and Community Affairs and in November 1986, was appointed General Manager of the Marine Transportation Division, with responsibility for the water transport of the company's Alaskan and imported crude, as well as refined and chemical products. He later served as Manager, Public Relations with responsibilities for directing efforts related to BP's corporate image goals and objectives and serving as BP spokesperson on critical community issues. He also served as Manager, Brand Implementation and Control, USA, where he was responsible for BP Oil's rebranding/reimaging program in the United States, and functioned as key international liaison for assuring compliance with BP's worldwide visual standards. In 1991, Chuck joined the executive search consulting business as a Partner in the Cleveland office of Lamalie Associates.  He served as the Managing Partner of the Cleveland office from 1993 until 1997 when he relocated to Atlanta. Dr. Taylor then became a Partner (1997-2001) in the Atlanta office of TMP Worldwide Executive Search and led the firm’s Education, Government and Non-Profit Practice.  In May 2001, Dr. Taylor established The Taylor Company to focus on assisting in the effort to meet the critical leadership needs of education, government and non-profit organizations.

In September 2002, Dr. Taylor was recruited to assume the presidency of Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia.  The College had fallen into severe economic difficulties and probationary status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  After seven months, a restructured board could not reach consensus on strategy, which led to his resignation. Chuck was then recruited as Vice President and Managing Director of The Hollins Group, Inc. in October of 2004.  The Hollins Group is an international executive recruiting company based in Chicago.  Dr. Taylor is responsible for managing the company’s business in the Southeast US and leading the firm’s Education and Non-Profit practice.  He is a well known recruiter of university presidents, school superintendents and other public and private agency senior level executives.

His honors and recognitions include:  Washington Internship in Education, 1971; Honorary Doctor of Education, University of Dayton, 1984; Outstanding Young Men of America, The Junior Chamber of Commerce of the United States, 1978; Selected as one of "300 Outstanding Alumni" - The Ohio State University 300th Commencement, June 1987; Selected as one of "Top 25 Black Managers in Corporate America," Black Enterprise magazine, February 1989; "Black Professional of the Year," National Black Professional Association, Cleveland, Ohio, 1989; and Who's News, Wall Street Journal (March 2, 1987).

Dr. Jean (Greenfield) Hillstrom

University Class of 1962

Dr. Jean (Greenfield) Hillstrom

Jean (Greenfield) Hillstrom graduated in 1962 after three years at University School. She was a cheerleader and a very accomplished 1 meter, 3 meter, and platform diver. She dove for the famous diving coach Mike Peppe (OSU and Olympics) for seven years representing the Brookside Country Club --- including her high school years. After U-Hi she attended Junior College near St. Louis (roommate of Karen (Krintz) Madden - 62) before transferring to Butler University where she received a degree in Physical Education and Math. She then attended OSU receiving a Masters in Adaptive Physical Education and also a pilot’s license with ground school teaching accreditation.

Jean taught Physical Education for 15 years at Hinsdale High School in the western suburbs of Chicago where she started the Adaptive Physical Education program for multi handicapped, blind, and cerebral palsy students. She coached the boy's high school diving team where she was recognized in 1967 by CBS on the national news (Walter Cronkite and Brent Musburger) as the first woman to coach a boy's athletic team. She coached diving for over 40 years in three different states at the high School and College levels (University of WI in Madison with the famous Jerry Darta). She had many high school state finalists, All American divers, and two NCAA Division II Champions, along with many scholarship athletes.

Jean met her husband, Thomas Hillstrom, (who worked for International Harvester in Hinsdale IL and later in Minneapolis MN) while on a ski trip --- they were married in Dublin in 1976. They have two children: Ed 78 (undergrad Engineering at Purdue, a Master’s and Doctorate at OSU) and Mary 82 (degree in Finance from Cal State and Maters from the Mount Baton Institute in London). Mary was also a talented dancer for the Debbie Allen performance company while in CA. Jean and Tom are now retired and live in Grand Haven on Mona Lake on the west coast of Michigan.

Cyndy Mote Sanders

University Class of 1963

Educator and World Traveler

Cindy Mote Sanders

Cyndy Mote Saunders came to the field of education a bit later than some.  With regard to her twenty years of teaching, however, she says:

"Education will always be a passion for me. I’m fascinated by the way we think and by our ability to teach children to be critical thinkers. I taught many grades, but 8th was my favorite. Remember Aunt Jane’s Craft Hour in 8th grade when we decorated the bulletin board with crazy bugs? I had Aunt Cyndy’s Craft Hour, and like Miss Stewart, I read to my students. I can say with confidence that education as a career gave me far more than I could possibly give to it."

It was as a teacher in Connecticut that Cyndy was given an opportunity that changed the course of her life.I will be forever grateful to my principal. He gave me a new chapter in my life when he offered me the chance to go to China for a month, to live with a family and teach in a school in Jiangmen. That was in 2004, and I’ve been to China five times now. China has brought my degree in Sociology full circle. I always dreamed of seeing a different culture from the inside, and China has provided that opportunity.

When I travel, I travel with an ever expanding web of Chinese friends, riding very Chinese trains with rows of three-tier bunks in open cars, staying in hotels that are far from five-star, visiting relatives in country villages where Western faces are rarely, if ever, seen.
What an amazing opportunity to see and know and try to understand a country that is so important to America, so different in many ways, and yet so similar where it really matters – in the hearts and minds of people who go to work, love their families and laugh with their friends. With a smile, an open mind, and an attitude that says, “I want to know and understand you,” the world is a fascinating place that says, “Welcome, please come in.”

Cyndy’s “journals” of her trips to China, shared with numerous friends and family members, have made for pleasurable and illuminating reading and some are available in the “Showcase” section of this web site.  She has just arrived (March 2012) in China for a month-long visit --- her 6th.

Dr. Karen Zumbrunn (801x1024).jpg

Dr. Karen Fanta Zumbrunn

Dr. Karen Fanta Zumbrunn

I went to University School from Kindergarten through 1956, then I transferred for my last 2 years to North and was graduated in 58 - but my ties to U High remain strong. Dr. Mary Tolbert was a big influence.

Columbus late 50s, early 60s was a great place to be an aspiring jazz player. There were many fine local players, famous jazz musicians who came through town, and best of all - lots of work. There were many places that had groups 6 nights a week plus many frat parties & campus events, student union functions, and so on. Bobby Hackett, who became a good friend, performed at the Grandview Inn many times with top players. Teddy Wilson or Cozy Cole or Vic Dickinson might be at Benny Kleins downtown, with jam sessions later. The Deschler hosted Ahmad Jamal at his peak and George Shearing (who invited me to breakfast, showed me some piano exercises I still use & was just such a lovely person). Erroll Garner and cabaret stars played the Maramour on Broad Street, and Kai and Jay played the Desert Inn. Stan Kenton and other groups played the big auditorium - Vets Memorial on W. Broad. Nancy Wilson had left town by the time I was coming up, and Don Patterson, always a fine fine player who could really cook, was on his way, cutting LPs with some big guys. His work holds up well.

Meanwhile Rusty Bryant was ever swinging. Hank Marr was a terrific organist . Once when at the Cadillac Club, a nice little "black" (but very welcoming) club downtown to hear Hank Marr- about 1960 - who came in but Cassius Clay (as he was known then) - handsome & declaiming his rhymes. Jazz friends and I used to go to other "black" clubs - we heard Dizzy and others. There used to be a little basement club that had live music-on hi street across from OSU - people could set in.

I was very fortunate to have a lot of work - as soloist and with my trio - beginning when I just graduated high school & had to lie about my age in order to play at the Gloria! My first gig. I played a lot of different venues, but two of my favorites before I returned first to Harvard to get a MAT degree and then to UC at Berkeley to finish my Ph.D. was the Neil House and the Maramour.

Columbus had many fine musicians. I distinctly remember enjoying working with bassists: Dick DeGray, Jack Dale, Ola Hanson, Ward Mowry and Ron Barnes. Wally Mitchell and Lynn Sallee were great drummers. Classmates at OSU drummer/arranger John Tatgenhorst and trumpet player Bob Yance and I had a lot of fun singing jazz together (I have perfect pitch) - like riding in a car to gigs etc. Sonny McBroom, a fine black sax player who seemed to work mostly with white players - or maybe he was just in demand by us? is yet one more talent.

But as I said earlier: One one of the best parts of Columbus at that time-was there was so much work. 6 nights a week was not unusual. I lived in Paris, France in 1962 - and had the opportunity to play at the Blue Note, then a famous jazz club there, with some big guns such as Kenny Clarke, Don Byas, and met so many others as they passed through town. I worked with a fine French bassist Bebe Rovere - and cut my first record in Rome with the pretentious title: “International stars of Jazz" which included players from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and me - great fun. From 63--66 I was in and out of Columbus, mostly home in I completed my studies elsewhere. I'm happy to say my Master's thesis at OSU - awarded 64 (12 Blues of Charlie Parker) was the first ON JAZZ at OSU. There was a lovely Afro-American who would come weekly to jazz club meetings at OSU - his name was Jim Crawford - he would share his wonderful records. He was a very special person, educated all of us even though he was not an OSU student - he just loved jazz and wanted to share.

Now the jazz scene everywhere has changed so much - there are still fine musicians - but they are more likely to have "jam" sessions in more controlled environments - and many restaurants and clubs no longer feature live music. I am still performing, but again, less than in the past. My trio made 2 CDs: SNOWFALL and TWILIGHT WORLD.

Jazz needs our support. I urge readers & fans to support their local jazz station, to go out to hear live music, and to tune into on the web - which live streams 2 clubs 7 nights a week (all donations go to help health care, retirement, and actual pay)



Princeton, NJ 08540

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